FatCow

FatCow remains reliable to the Malaysians as it is one of the oldest in the business.

Wait, what is FatCow?

FatCow, despite that its name reminds you of dairy milk from TESCO, it also remains reliable to the Malaysians as it is one of the oldest in the business.

It was originally founded way back in 1998 by Jackie Fewell, before being acquired in 2004 by the infamous EIG (who also owns HostGator, BlueHost and many others.)

Any association with EIG tends to have King Midas’s Golden Touch..

Has FatCow still retained its grass-roots approach? (Get it?!)

Or have they Moo-ed similarly to other EIG properties, slowly letting the milk slide off a cliff? (metaphorically speaking)

We bought The FatCow Plan shared hosting plan in June 2015 to do our own evaluation and discover out the actual data ourselves.

We built up a WordPress website and have been executing performance reviews of their stats including uptime & speed (you can even click “History” to hop into our analysis).

These are the good, the bad, and the ugly we discovered in our analysis:

Is FatCow being a good, cute cow?

With a name like FatCow, we didn’t quite know what our expectations would be.

The good news first? They’ve performed admirably in a number of crucial sections during our review process.

Here’s a brief summary of the highlights:

1. Awesome (and Inconsistent) Support

Our personal experience with FatCow’s support team went smoothly. Their support staff reached us within two minutes, with quick and accurate responses that remind me of our usual waiters at the mamak.

Unfortunately, other customers haven’t always got the same
mamak. Our background check revealed a very unstable experience that didn’t always catch up with our own.

In addition, to live chat support, FatCow also offers an extensive user knowledgeable. Utilizing the knowledge base users are able to dig answers to their questions about their accounts, domains, email, files, partnership programs, policies, security, and more. You can also look up a keyword or phrase that relates to your question rather than filtering through preset categories.

This is an amazing customer service feature for those who prefer self-help over live chat. The knowledge base also serves as a backup method for support if live chat happens to be offline.

2. Upfront, Real Deal Pricing

Unlike some other nefarious and shady hosting companies, FatCow’s pricing structure is like taking a deep breath on the top of a green mountain.

Many web hosts ( including many of the EIG brands themselves) use disorienting pricing to lure you in, only to discover that you need to commit to paying some long-term, three-year deal upfront in order to secure that pricing.

Another common trick is to trick you when it’s time for renewal, upping the price drastically because the chances of you leaving are as thin as a thread. Thankfully, FatCow’s low advertised website pricing is the real deal. There’s no tricks, gimmicks, or dramas you have to jump through in order to take advantage of it.

3. Free Website Transfers and Domain Names

Let’s say that you have an existing website hosted somewhere in the rainbow, FatCow will help you move without any money included.

Don’t agonize if you’re just making your first step, because they’ll also slide in a free domain name for new account signups.

4. 30-Day Money Back Guarantee

FatCow offers common 30-day money back guarantee on all hosting plans.

Realize that they only refund orders made through a Credit Card, PayPal is out of topic…

5. ‘Greeny’ Web Host

Supposedly, their offices and data centers are completely infused by wind energy. Not quite as green as GreenGeeks, but still plausible…

We haven’t personally gotten in touch with them though. Not having any ideas on it anytime soon either. While we don’t want to cook up some conspiracy theory, you might want to take that claim at the real value…

Although, they do pop up to be an EPA Green Power Partner, so their claims seem pretty genuine.

The company buys Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). The RECs that they buy are used to produce wind energy to vitiate their typical energy usage in the office. In fact, they buy two times the amount that they utilize. FatCow says to prevent the discharge of 999 metric tons of CO2 into the air every year.

According to the EPA, this is the same as:

  • Removing 214 passenger vehicles off the road for a year
  • Driving 2,448,529 miles
  • 248 tons of waste recycled rather than been disposed into a landfill
  • 49.8 garbage trucks worth of recycled waste rather than landfilled waste

…and the list goes on.

If you’re concerned about reducing the size of your carbon footprint and you’re looking for a socially conscious business to host your website with, FatCow is a serious ally.

6. Free Web Logos

Require some web logos to upgrade the overall design of your site? FatCow has you back.

The company offers 3,926 professionally-designed “farm-fresh web logos.” The coolest part? They’re all wholly free!

Note that there’s a bit of a catch if you look at the Terms of use for these web logos…

For example, if you do include these web logos on your site, you’ll have to ensure that you link to the following URL in your credits:

Although they’re cost no coins, FatCow requires that you credit them for developing the logos.

These are the dark side of FatCow

FatCow’s straightforward pricing is an added complimentary, upgrading their handicaps with what you see is what you get method…

Unfortunately, it all ain’t rainbows are candies. There are a few negative aspects we should review before you make a final decision. Here are some of the biggest concerns:

1. Average 99.80% Uptime (Last 10-Months)

In our experience, many of the EIG brands fail to deliver good uptime consistently. (You know, ’cause keeping a website live isn’t important or anything…)

FatCow falls right into this trend with .14 worse than the industry average of 99.94%. In a plain flat way of saying – it’s TERRIBLE!

It’s also important to note that they’ve been showing consistently mixed results lately.
Here are the details:

Last 10-month average uptime:

  • December 2017 average uptime: 99.91%
  • January 2018 average uptime: 99.95%
  • February 2018 average uptime: 100%
  • March 2018 average uptime: 99.95%
  • April 2018 average uptime: 99.90%
  • May 2018 average uptime: 99.94%
  • June 2018 average uptime: 98.57%
  • July 2018 average uptime: 99.99%
  • August 2018 average uptime: 99.87%
  • September 2018 average uptime: 99.89%
2. FatCow is Slow. Obviously.

If speed was a critical element for your business, you would probably go to extra lengths to carefully select a word that doesn’t conjure up the negative connotation of a big, dumb, slow-moving (yet tasty) animal.

FatCow, unfortunately for all of us certainly lives up to their name. (I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised.)

Over the last ten months, FatCow had an average page loading times of 1,274ms (35.5% slower than the industry average of 890ms). That’s among the slowest page loading times we’ve seen across almost thirty-three web host reviews. The news keeps getting worse though, as they’ve posted consistently below average page loading times since we initially signed up with them about three years ago.

Considering that site speed has a large bearing on both search rankings and conversions, slow page loading times are a big drawback for any commercial website.

Case-in-point: HALF of your traffic will bounce if pages don’t load within two seconds.

Last 10-month average load time:

  • December 2017 average speed: 1,365ms
  • January 2018 average speed: 1,315ms
  • February 2018 average speed: 1,072ms
  • March 2018 average speed: 1,239ms
  • April 2018 average speed: 1,436ms
  • May 2018 average speed: 1,268ms
  • June 2018 average speed: 1,221ms
  • July 2018 average speed: 1,218ms
  • August 2018 average speed: 1,341ms
  • September 2018 average speed: 1,262ms
3. Cancellation Can Cost You

FatCow does offer free, 30-day money back guarantee. So no problems there.
If you want to cancel after that period closes, there’s a minimum $35 early cancellation fee. They also require a 30-day notice to cancel too.

4. Backups Aren’t Free

Minor site problems or issues tend to pop up from time to time as you’re making website updates or changes. That’s why many web hosts will offer backups to help protect their customers.

FatCow offers them, but they’ll set you back with an extra $16.95 a year. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that this upgrade includes daily backups (so the extra cost might be worth it in this case).

5. Too Many Upsells

Speaking of extra fees… THAT’s what signing up for FatCow feels like.

Brace yourself for the onslaught of annoying upsells that kick off immediately after you enter your credit card number. Many will find this irritating and off-putting. Consider yourself warned!

6. Extra Security Costs More

FatCow offers some awesome security features, like SiteLock, which can protect your website against tons of cyber attacks, malware, and more.

The extra security is just what you’ll want if you want to ensure that your website doesn’t get blacklisted. There’s just one catch…and it’s a big one. You have to be willing to pay for it.

Full protection (which includes daily malware and vulnerability scans, automatic malware removal, a web application firewall, and more) costs as much as $38.75 per month.

Other competitors offer the same kinds of security features for no extra fee.

FatCow Pricing, Hosting Plans & Quick Facts

Here’s a quick overview of the plans offered by FatCow:

Cheap Sheep Hosting Shared Hosting
Cost: RM36.72 for the first year (RM3.06 per month) and renewal RM81.59 annually Cost: RM199.90 per year (for the fast year) and renewal up to RM44.83 per month (depending on the renewal term)
Support:

  • 2GB storage
  • 200GB bandwidth
  • Free domain name
  • Integration with WordPress and popular CMSs
  • $100 Google Adwords and Yahoo + Bing bonus
  • 30 days money back guarantee
Support:

  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited mailboxes
  • Free domain
  • Free website builder
  • Integration with popular CMSs and shopping carts
Free Domain Yes.
Ease of Signup Simple, two-step sign up process.
Payment Methods Credit Card, PayPal.
Hidden Fees and Clauses $35 early cancellation fee. They only refund orders made by Credit Card. Upon signing up, you agree not to use “excessive” amounts of CPU processing. They do not specify what they mean by “excessive.”
Upsells Lots of upsells. LOTS!
Activation of Account Instant Activation.
Control Panel and Dashboard Experience Their own customized control panel.
Installation of Apps and CMSs (WordPress, Joomla, etc.) WordPress and other popular CMSs and apps can be installed via InstallCentral in their control panel. Mojo Marketplace is also available for quick installation of apps.

Do We Recommend FatCow Hosting?

Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Their pricing is relatively honest (+ bonus points for being so cheap). They even have a fun, whimsical name. Ironically, it’s a little too accurate. Across the board, they’re a bit too average for us.

Their uptime is below average, support is inconsistent, their page speeds are terribly slow, and there’s too many upsells or extra fees (e.g early cancellation). You’d be better off looking at other options.

What’s good about FatCow?

  • Consistent customer support
  • Pricing is upfront and honest
  • Free website transfers and domain names
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Eco-friendly web host
  • Free web icons

What’s bad about FatCow?

  • Average uptime of 99.80% (the industry average is 99.94% of uptime)
  • Loading times are much slower than the industry average (1,274ms )
  • Cancellation could cost you
  • Backups aren’t free
  • Tons of upsells

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